Sensitivity After Teeth Whitening: Causes and Solutions

Teeth whitening treatments are an effective way to brighten your smile and enhance your overall appearance. However, one common side effect that many individuals experience after teeth whitening is sensitivity. This temporary discomfort can range from mild to severe, making it important to understand the causes and find suitable solutions to alleviate the sensitivity. In this article, we will explore the various causes of sensitivity after teeth whitening and provide you with potential solutions to minimize its impact on your daily life.

Causes of Sensitivity after Teeth Whitening

When you undergo teeth whitening treatments, the peroxide-based bleaching agents used tend to penetrate the enamel and reach the dentin layer of your teeth. Dentin contains microscopic hollow tubes that lead to the inner nerve endings of your tooth. When these tubes are exposed to various stimuli, such as temperature changes or pressure, it can lead to sensitivity. The most common causes of sensitivity after teeth whitening include:

1. Enamel Thinning

Teeth whitening procedures can sometimes cause temporary enamel thinning. The peroxide gel in whitening products can penetrate the enamel and disrupt its mineral structure, resulting in temporary sensitivity. This usually subsides within a few days as the enamel remineralizes.

2. Gum Irritation

Improperly fitted whitening trays or excessive application of whitening gel can lead to gum irritation. When the gel comes into contact with the soft tissues of your gums, it can cause inflammation and sensitivity. Ensuring proper application and using custom-fitted trays can significantly reduce this risk.

3. Exposed Dentin

Teeth whitening procedures can expose dentin and its hollow tubes, leading to sensitivity. This can occur if the whitening agent is left on for too long or if a higher concentration of peroxide is used. It is important to follow the instructions provided and consult with your dentist to avoid overexposure to the whitening agent.

Solutions for Sensitivity after Teeth Whitening

If you are experiencing sensitivity after teeth whitening, there are several steps you can take to alleviate discomfort and manage the sensitivity effectively. These solutions include:

1. Use Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth

Incorporating a toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth into your oral care routine can help alleviate sensitivity. These toothpastes typically contain ingredients such as potassium nitrate or strontium chloride, which can help desensitize the nerve endings in your teeth.

2. Avoid Extremely Hot or Cold Foods/Drinks

During the period of sensitivity, it is advisable to avoid consuming excessively hot or cold foods and drinks. Extreme temperature changes can trigger sensitivity and further discomfort. Opt for lukewarm or room temperature options instead.

3. Practice Gentle Brushing Techniques

Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and maintaining gentle brushing techniques can minimize irritation to the teeth and gums. Avoid using excessive force or aggressive brushing that can worsen sensitivity.

4. Take Breaks Between Whitening Treatments

If you frequently undergo at-home teeth whitening treatments, it may be beneficial to take breaks between each session. This allows your teeth time to recover and reduces the risk of overexposure to the whitening agents.


Sensitivity after teeth whitening is a common issue that many individuals experience. Understanding the causes of sensitivity and implementing suitable solutions can help alleviate discomfort and ensure an overall positive whitening experience. Remember to consult with your dentist for personalized advice and recommendations based on your specific situation. With proper care and attention, you can achieve a brighter, whiter smile without lasting sensitivity.